Born on this date in 1974, Bedford-Stuyvesant native Lil’ Kim has certainly paved the way for female rappers to gain traction in a highly male-dominated world of hip-hop. Making her name, sound, and style notorious (no pun intended) in her appearance on Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s debut album, Conspiracy.
Backed by hardcore lyrics filled with provocative and liberating content, Kim’s attitude and determination broke down gender barriers (which female rappers currently still face) that excelled her respect in the game.
Kim’s resume includes many Hip Hop greats, timeless tracks, fashion moments, and jaw-dropping lyrics. As the musical heiress of the Notorious B.I.G. legacy, Kim has continued to rep the memory of “the greatest rapper of all time”, even naming her sophomore 2000 release Notorious K.I.M.
Morphing from a femcee from Bed Stuy into the iconic figure she is today is a trail that has only been traced by the likes of Cardi B, Megan The Stallion and today’s entire female rap roster. They all have to salute the Queen B.
The Source Magazine sends a supreme born day shout to the Queen on her Birthday!!
On this day in 1990, original Juice Crew member and Queensbridge Projects native Percy Chapman aka the Intelligent Hoodlum, released his debut album, also entitled Intelligent Hoodlum, on the A&M Records label.
Produced primarily by the QB behind the boards legend Marley Marl and Large Professor, this album was one of the most socio-political projects of its time, which could be easily categorized among the ranks of the Poor Righteous Teachers and Brand Nubian with its Islamic/5% Nation overtones. With the reception of The Juice Crew’s “The Symphony” as one of the best Hip Hop tracks of all time, it was very easy to overlook the members of the crew that didn’t appear on the song. As the youngest member of the crew, this album was necessary for Tragedy to prove himself as artist in his own right.
Some of the most memorable track from this project include the James Brown-powered “Black And Proud”, the George H.W. Bush-inspired “Arrest The President” and the Soul II Soul-sampled “Back To Reality”. Almost three decades ago, albums were more exclusive, so a 12-track album was an unspoken maximum for the number of songs on a full length project.
Salute to the Intelligent Hoodlum(Tragedy Khadafi) Marley Marl, Large Professot and everyone at A&M Records that helped make this album a Hip Hop classic!
Kamaiyah was primed for an All-Star run following her critically acclaimed, 2016 debut mixtape A Good Night in the Ghetto. Now in 2020, the Oakland native is stepping out on her own to ensure that she gets the push she deserves. Kamaiyah is looking for an even bigger moment than years passed, but the road has been tumultuous, marred by false starts and controversies surrounding her relationships, both business and personal.
Back in February, Kamaiyah released her latest effort, Got It Made, which is the home of her latest single “Pressure.” Speaking with The Source, Kamaiyah detailed that single is a self-check, and the work to make her career and label a success will have to be executed with patience. She also dives into what went sour with her tenure on YG’s 4HUNNID imprint, the fall out of her friendship with Kehlani, current releases, those that are on the way, and more.
The Source: We see a lot of people working and creating through COVID-19. As far as health and working, how are you doing?
I’m good. I’m as blessed as can be with the tumultuous times going on in the world. I got to count my blessings every day. There are people out there who need help to survive cause they working nine to give and now not able to do that.
On the working end, we just got the video for the “Pressure” single, it’s an anthem and a powerful record where you establish who you are. What inspired you to create that song?
I was just going through a hard time. I really created the record for myself. I needed to hear that. I made the record so I can feel that power through that record because it was just like, I had to reassure myself of other accomplishments. Sometimes I’ll forget how far I’ve come because I’m living in a moment that doesn’t feel like I’m succeeding, but it’s not about where you are right now. It’s about where you came from before you got where you are and I’ll be having to remind myself that.
The video just dropped and it’s crazy, it’s really dope. Did you have a specific vision in your head that you brought to the director? Was it brought to you? How did the concept for what was the final project come?
You know what it was, man? You know, I’m from the same hood as MC Hammer. That was the big inspiration for the video. That’s why we in the alley with the A’s jackets. It’s like shit like that. Like a classic video, man. I know that was dope for Oakland, cause it’s 20, some 30 years later and I’m looking at this shit like, yo, what the fuck? You know, the graphics may be a little choppy because of the era, but it’s just like, how the fuck did he do this? I just thought that was dope. He was dancing in the water and I just always wanted to dance in the water. I just thought that’d be dope.
I think that was though, too, and the Hammer motto, “Too Legit to Quit,” is speaking to yourself again.
Damn. I ain’t even think about that, you put me on there.
I’ve been looking at it and you’re getting love from fans and then contemporaries as well. I’ve seen Megan Thee Stallion threw some flame emoji. Do you find the overall relationship with women rappers right now to be healthier and more supportive than previous beliefs?
Yeah. There’s a lot healthier than our predecessors and they try to make it seem like we all don’t get along. But I think that’s the furthest thing from the truth. I just feel like, you know, when it’s men involved, they try to like hype us up like, “Oh, you better know you better.” And then it creates this false narrative that you got to go at her without you even knowing her. And y’all characteristics. You know how I look at it? Like I don’t even have to know every song, drive, whatever, if you respect me, I respect you. I see you hustling. And I’m showing you love until it’s the issue where you showing disrespect and it ain’t nothing like that. Now it’s acknowledging hustle and get your money, sis.
The way you are releasing music now, you’re doing it on your own and you left your label situation with YG. What led you to want to go in a different direction?
I just was not happy. And I told myself I can’t wake up another day and be miserable. I don’t want to be that person, like 20 years later, wondering what if I would’ve did this? No, I’m going to take advantage of the situation now cause I ain’t getting no younger. So I did it, and it was respectable. I’m just like, yo, this ain’t working for me. I got to feed my family.
It was a situation where my project had been pushed back and kept getting pushed back. And I told them, I warned them, if y’all do it again, I’m leaving. I pre-warned you that if this happened again, that I wasn’t going to remain unhappy. I’m not going to keep sitting here fighting y’all to put out music. That should never be the case. I should just be able to release whenever I fucking feel like it. I don’t care if you don’t like my single, if I say this is it, let me shoot that shot. And if I brick, at least I know I shot this shot and tried. I never got the opportunity to have a national campaign. It was always held up. And that was my issue, I’m seeing everybody else get their shots. Every time that I feel like I’m about to get mine, it gets called away from me. And that in itself is the depression that you’re building in a person because it makes you feel like our creativity isn’t good enough. And you know how it fucks with your mental receptors? It’s like, if your dad tells you, I’m about to come to pick you up and you sitting outside waiting and a nigga never come. So I had to get up out of there.
Hearing you describe it right now, it doesn’t seem like it was a hard conversation or a decision for you, but how do you think that relationship between you and YG is now?
It’s definitely severed because you know like I said, other people have their own vision for their business. At the end of the day, I feel like that’s the complications that come with an artist trying to have an artist, right? Because they try to build it based upon their feelings and what they want for themselves. When you sign an artist, it’s not about what you want for that artist and their career. You should want them to reach their full height. Whatever it takes to get them there, you got to put your all into making that happen. And that’s why I feel like Wayne is one of the greatest CEOs because he never stood in the way of Drake or Nicki becoming bigger than him. And I’m like, man, that ain’t about you. It’s about what I want and how I see my career flourishing. And I wasn’t given that opportunity.
When you make that a statement about Wayne when his artists shine it kind of showed shine back on how great he was.
Cash Money has run entertainment for two decades. So that speaks volumes of the characteristics of who’s the head over it. Cause it’s like, you know, Wayne was created through Birdman, and from there he created Nicki and Drake, which are still two of the biggest artists in the world right now. Like Drake is the number one Hip-Hop artist in the world from the other number one Hip-Hop artist in the world. So it’s like the lineage itself speaks, you know, that they did so much historically for Hip-Hop that you got to respect it.
Now that you’re free and working on your own imprint with GRNDWRK, what goals do you have for that imprint going forward? And what have you learned and are currently learning from being the head of your own movement?
I’m learning to just have patience and in order for me to even have a successful label, I have to be successful. And that’s not going to happen overnight. Like people look at my history and think that because of the things that I’ve accomplished in the past affect me presently. I feel like I have to be in the momentum of the world right now because I took the four-year deficit. I accomplished so much in my first year. And for three years I wasn’t able to do anything. So in order for me to get back cracking, it’s gonna take half of that time. So I may not get a hit record for two years and I’m okay with that.
So I have to ask you about this one too. Another relationship, for those who aren’t privy to your everyday life and get updates from headlines or wherever we got on it on Instagram, it was like a rift between you and Kehlani. A lot of people believe that it was based on a collaborative project or single with Keyshia Cole and it led to alleged death threats or other issues.
There was never any death threats and that’s the one thing that I definitely want to clear up. I don’t do Internet or social media. Even when I address it, I addressed it one time and whatever people said about me after that, that was their own opinions. Like I know these people in real life, but I had never in my life threatened that girl’s life. Now what I did do was threaten to whoop her ass. I’m not going to take back from that. And that’s what I apologize for.
Some people can’t handle that pressure. So they’re going to make it seem like it’s something completely different from what it was to fit their narrative. She said I said I was going to shoot up her house, which has never occurred. That’s on my dead brother, my brother died four years ago from cancer. I would never in my life threaten to shoot up an R&B singer’s house. My nigga, I am from the streets. So like, do you honestly think that it’s that serious for me to shoot up an R&B singer’s house and jeopardize my lifestyle and what I built on my career, is it really that serious? No, it was never that serious, but you know, that’s the narrative of the people went with because they’re manipulative. They like to play the victim. And that’s just what it was because I’m not about to go back and forth on the internet. I politely said what happened. I told them our differences and what occurred and I stepped back, they kept going. And the person who keeps talking typically has the most cover up right?
Was there any reconciliation or any conversation behind closed doors or it is what it is at this point?
We haven’t spoken since before all of that, you know what I’m saying? I’m big on respect, integrity, and morality. So I feel like if you’ve wronged me, apologize. Take the ego out of it, be humble and modest, and say I did something wrong and I would have respected that. The issue was, there was no sense of respect in that friendship towards the end, due to the relationship she had with my prior CEO.
So that was a big fraction of the risk that people don’t get to see. That played a part in a lot of the issues. I stopped being respected as a friend when I was a friend with you before any of this. Cause you feel like, this is going to ride with me. And then actually never been a case. If you really consider me a sister, they should’ve been like, “yo, we’ve been working on this. Let’s make sure this happened.” And I told her that when I left, you know, “Hey, let’s make sure we keep this copasetic.” It didn’t go that way. So that was a big fraction of the risk that people don’t get to see. That played a part in a lot of the issues. I stopped being respected as a friend when I was a friend with you before any of this. Cause you feel like, this is going to ride with me. And then actually never been a case. If you really consider me a sister, they should’ve been like, “yo, we’ve been working on this. Let’s make sure this happened.” And I told her that when I left, like, you know, like, “Hey, let’s make sure we keep this copasetic.” It didn’t go that way. And the business started getting weird with her. That’s how the project ended up not coming out. The record came out because they forced it. I could put it out because legally I can do that but it’s no positive energy in it. I care more about respect, love, honesty and that’s more important to me when I go to sleep at night, am I happy? I don’t wish no negativity on nobody. I made peace with the situation and grown past it.
With that wrapped up, you have been supporting a lot of the activism that was going on in the past three months. On a personal level, how did everything going on from George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and everything all across the country personally affects you and impact your spirit?
I feel like the climate in a world is kind of traumatizing, being a Black woman in America, and just seeing how we are being killed like animals. You see the people marching and all that shit on every channel, every channel, every channel, every channel and it’s is like, yo, we’ve been doing this for fucking centuries. Then you’re trying to go to sleep at night after you watch all this shit and you hear it sound like a fucking war zone. People were letting off fireworks and all that type of shit. It’s troubling to know that at any given moment I can go outside and I’m hearing like this crazy shit. I see how people come from like Wars feel when they go home and they came to depth to be normal again. Cause that’s how I feel like how are we going to be normal again after witnessing this? Cause it’s like, no matter what we do, y’all show us, we don’t matter. Like it’s going to always be another George Floyd because, before that, it was the Tamir Rice. It was Oscar Grant. It was Trayvon Martin. Until these people actually effectively change the laws to matter for everybody and not them, it will never be any equality. Everybody understands the world and what’s going on for real, knowing that shit was even created to control people after slavery. That’s what the police was forward. You couldn’t keep us as slaves. So the new slave system is prison. So I’m going to throw you here and make you work for me again and make pennies on the fucking dollar.
Along the same time of Black pain, there was Black pride and celebration. For you, we got the “Black Excellence” single and video. How did you channel that energy into the booth?
In all honesty, “Black Excellence” was created two, three months before all this happened. And I actually postponed it for two or three weeks because I didn’t want to look thirsty. I just went outside and I went to a couple of little marches cause I just wanted to feel the energy. And you know, it was interesting to me because I felt like as much as Black people say, we love each other and we fight for each other, it’s different when you out there and seeing other races fight for us too.
Do you have a project or future releases in mind now that those pieces are floating?
I have a project coming out within about a month and a half. It’s a collaborative project. It’s going to be a standout moment in my career because I had fun doing it. I feel like it’s going to make a lot of sense for my culture. I will also continue to show the type of woman I am and what I’m standing for. I’m big on ownership and dependency and just women taking back what’s theirs. We are the rulers and the controllers that it’s over. We are the mothers of nature and we just got to own our power and that’s what I’m doing.
Ever since the “Eric B. For President” single featuring a young Long Islander named Rakim Allah was released in the summer of ’86 (which was produced by Marley Marl), the fans were feigning for more of the God with the slow flow, so the two were scooped up by Russell Simmons and the genesis of Paid In Full began.
As the prototype album of Hip Hop’s “Golden Era”, everything from song arrangement, album artwork, and even their wardrobe on the album cover became iconic items of that time period. Manufactured and distributed by indie label Zakia/4th and Broadway Records, the album’s anticipation and the response was so unprecedented, it earned the duo a new contract with Uni Records for the sophomore project.
A few of the ten-track classic’s stand out songs include “Move The Crowd”, “I Ain’t No Joke”, “I Know You Got Soul” and the classic title track, “Paid In Full”.
Even though Eric B. and Rakim just reunited as a group in 2018, this album solidified them as one of the greatest Hip Hop duo’s in the culture’s history and we here at The Source salute them for that. Peace!
Born on this date in 1975, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is undoubtedly one of the most influential forces in the game today. From music to movies to successful business ventures, Fif has always stayed on top of his game ever since he made his unconventional entrance at the end of the last millennium.
What has always kept 50’s name in the people’s mouths is the fact that he always had someone else’s name in his! Not to be confused with the common studio gangster, 50 has not only survived but remained triumphant and relevant after all of his beef.
Here’s a short list of some of Fif’s most mentioned beefs in and out of the studio:
1. Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff
This beef between street soldier and kingpin became a story reminiscent of David and Goliath, with 50 Cent battling the most feared gangster in his Jamaica, Queens hometown. This riff was depicted in 50’s blockbuster film Get Rich Or Die Tryin’. The real ending? Fif is a successfull businessman and Supreme is currently in a federal supermax correctional facility for life.
On 50’s first widely recognized track “How To Rob” featuring The Madd Rapper, he creatively spits scenarios about him catching several of your favorite rappers and R&B singers slipping. One of them happened to be the Terror Squad top recruit Big Pun, who didn’t take it very lightly. On Pun’s Yeeeaah Baby! album, he tells Fif on one of the tracks, “I’m gona make a song called ‘How I beat your fuckin ass’…”. Nothing never happened off wax with this beef and Pun passed suddenly on February 7, 2000.
With the G-Unit at the top of the rap tier at the turn of the 21st Century, if you weren’t with them, you and your crew were definitely getting rolled over. The Game, who happened to be the only recruit on the Guerrilla Unit squad that wasn’t from the East Coast, made the mistake by believing that his career would remain afloat without 50. With no help against the barrage of battle records from G-Unit to the unsuccessful “Boycott G-Unit” campaign, it’s safe to say that Fif comes out on top of this one.
The Bawse seemed to be the only artist that has even been able to maintain his relevance after beef with Mr. Jackson. Ironically, this beef started over an alleged wrong look at the BET Awards towards Ross. These two traded bars until Fif came out with the “Officer Ricky” track, in which 50 promised told Rozay “Ima fuck your life up for fun’. At the 2012 BET Hip Hop Awards in ATL, Gunplay from Ross’ Maybach Music Group allegedly had his chain snatched and Fif was seen wearing the chain days later.
His battle with 50 Cent should’ve been a warning to the rest of the artist who came after him with a problem with the Queens MC. These two were from the same hood, which made the beef that much more personal. While 50 claims that Rule hid behind the protection of “Supreme” McGriff, who was suspected of facilitating the unsuccessful hit on Jackson, Rule maintained a successful career until the continuous physical confrontations and vicious shots proved to be too much for certified platinum Murder Inc. artist. In 2015, these two bumped heads on a flight, but time must have healed old wounds because the two just greeted each other with a “what’s up” as they flew together.
On Independence Day in 1986, Daryl McDaniels, his partner in rhyme Joseph Simmons and their DJ Jason Mizell, who are best known as the legendary Hip Hop group Run-D.M.C., released one of their most successful singles of their career; “Walk This Way”, which guest stars rock n’ roll vets Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith.
The rap version of the single, which appeared on Run-D.M.C.’s third album Raising Hell, was a very groundbreaking track that helped pioneer the fusion of rock n’ roll and Hip Hop. The original song of the same name appeared on Aerosmith’s 1975 Toys In The Attic album.
On this date in 1995, Richmond, Virginia native and neo-soul trailblazer Michael Eugene Archer a.k.a. D’Angelo released his debut album Brown Sugar on EMI Records.
This landmark project boasted production from the likes of A Tribe Called Quest’s DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Kedar Massenburg, Bob Power, and Tony Toni Tone’s Raphael Saadiq, however, the majority of the production including songwriting, arrangements, and instruments were put together by D’Angelo himself.
The album was regarded as a classic upon its release, receiving platinum certification less than a year later in February 1996.
Some of the album’s most memorable singles include the Smokey Robinson-influenced “Cruisin’,” the infamous caught in the act story of “Sh*t, D*mn, Motherf*cker”, the sweet serenade of “Lady” and of course, the timeless title track.
Super salute to D’Angelo, Kedar Massenburg and the rest of the team involved in this classic project.
Slick Rick was, and still is, one of the greatest storytellers in hip-hop history. After the promotion and success of his first album, The Adventures of Slick Rick, the British MC continued his ascent to stardom with his sophomore effort The Ruler’s Back.
Slick Rick’s second album was finished rather quickly due to the fact he was hit with a five year stint behind bars. The first and hit single off the album was “I Shouldn’t Have Done It”, reaching number two on the Hot Rap Charts.
Following “I Shouldn’t Have Done It,” Slick Rick released the singles “Mistakes of a Woman in Love With Other Men” and “It’s A Boy.” The project also features production from Mr. Lee and Slick Rick himself. Russell Simmons served as executive producer.
On July 2, 1996, Nas unleashed the follow-up to his critically acclaimed debut, 1994’s Illmatic entitled It Was Written, the album featured production from DJ Premier, Dr. Dre, and Havoc.
This time around, the fresh-faced, 22-year-old Brooklyn-born emcee consciously pushed the album in a more mainstream direction, hoping to secure a wider fan base. It worked.
The album proved to be Nas’ most commercially successful release, debuting at #1 on the US Billboard 200 chart. It’s viewed by music critics as one of Nas’ strongest records and remains his best-selling release, with over four million copies sold in the U.S. alone.
On this date in Hip-Hop history, Houston legends the Geto Boys released their most popular album to date, We Can’t Be Stopped, on J. Prince’s Rap A Lot Records.
With Bushwick Bill’s self-inflicted gunshot wound to the eye on the album cover and their uber-popular “Mind Playin’ Tricks On Me” dominating airwaves, Bill, Willie D, and Face’s most revered album helped re-define the term “hotter than July”.
The 14 track classic was certified platinum less than a year after its release, making Geto Boys a household name and making room for Brad Jordan to drop his debut album, Mr. Scarface Is Back.
Rest In Peace to Bushwick Bill and NJ-born DJ Ready Red, who was an original member of the Geto Boys, who left the group during the reocrding of this album. Salute to Uncle Face and Willie D for giving us such a timeless piece of Hip Hop history!